You know how the beginning of the school year is always chaos? It’s a crazy mess of quick IEPs, make your speech therapy schedule, finding out where students are, planning, rearranging schedules, and trying to get your mindset out of summer mode.
Everyone knows that the WORST part is always scheduling. Coming up with your speech therapy schedule is a nightmare.
Take a deep breath, friend. Here are a few tips to create a speech therapy schedule that works well for you. Plus, grab a free speech therapy schedule template to get you started!
1. Organize your caseload
Before you can even attempt a schedule, you want your caseload to be set and organized. I always make a spreadsheet with my students’ info. It usually includes:
- IEP minutes
- IEP and eval dates
- Medicaid eligibility
In the past, I managed my spreadsheets through excel, but lately, I’ve been loving Airtable! You can check out this replay of a FB live last year on how I use Airtable to schedule.
2. Know your district’s requirements
Each district has different rules about when and how you are able to service students. For example, in my district, we are not allowed to pull students out of core instruction. We can only pull from enrichment classes.
I know that other SLPs have the opposite rules and are not allowed to pull students from “specials” or enrichment. It’s important to know the requirements BEFORE you start your schedule.
3. Schedule yourself first
You NEED time to get your paperwork done, complete screenings, evaluations, and so on. Block out those times on your schedule first.
For example, I try to make the majority of my Fridays paperwork time. So when I’m scheduling, I work around those times.
4. Decide on your method
There are a million ways to figure out your schedule. Personally, I gather all my classroom teachers’ schedules and put everything on my schedule myself. Then, I go to the teachers and make sure it’s an OK time to push in or pull out.
Others like to have teachers sign up for the therapy times through email or sign-up forms. They can do this through Google surveys, Signup Genius, or even Airtable. See more about these below.
I’ve also seen SLPs have teachers come and schedule in person. The SLP makes a big schedule on a whiteboard and uses sticky notes with the student names and timeframe of the session (i.e. 30min group) on each. When the teachers come by to schedule, they place the sticky note on the board to mark their time.
Figure out what method that would work best for you and try it!
5. Use a software system
These days there are actually tons of online programs and scheduling tools to help you with your schedule. Here are a few great ones:
- Google forms – For a quick way to get times for your teachers, send a form to ask their top 3 choices of times they prefer.
- Signup Genius – This one is great for having teachers choose time slots. They are able to see which ones have been taken and which are available.
- Airtable – I love Airtable for organizing my caseload AND scheduling. It’s like a spreadsheet on steroids. You can see the same data in lots of different views. Check out my FB tutorial and grab a free template HERE! You’ll have to make a copy of the template before you are able to access it.
- SLP Toolkit – OK, this program can help you organize your caseload AND arrange your schedule. It also provides lots of ways to take data and track your students’ progress. Totally worth it, in my opinion.
- SLP Scheduler – I haven’t actually used this one, but I know some other SLPs that like it. It helps you optimize your schedule with algorithms that allow you to save valuable time!
6. Grab a free schedule template
Ready to start creating your speech therapy schedule? I print my schedule out every week and take attendance right there on the schedule. It’s created in Google Sheets, so it’s completely editable for you to arrange it and make it your own.
Hit the button below to snag your free speech therapy schedule template! How do you like to make yours? Got any shortcuts you want to share? Let me know! 😉
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